Jose Curbelo

Instrumental Cha Cha Cha--Mambo-Merengue

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As should be expected, Instrumental Cha Cha Cha is Curbelo at his most sophisticated, an indulgence of his penchant for jazz that rises above cocktail-lounge Latin. Though not quite George Shearing, it is very good, low-key, usually background music. The piano solos are good throughout, but the horns tend to blare over everything except for some choice solos. One complaint about most Curbelo albums holds true; the conga does not always hold things together as it should. The lovely "La Luna" is by two of the best Latin composer/arrangers, Rene Hernandez and Pete Terrace. "Bowery Mambo" rounds out a very even, well-thought-out set with some Machito-esque excitement in the horns.

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